Introduction: Wooden Necktie (and Bowtie)

Picture of Wooden Necktie (and Bowtie)

Make a stylish necktie and bow tie with alternative material: wood!

The Windsor knot will no longer be a problem.

As it requires some (nylon) thread and a needle, will it be entitled to enter the Summer Sewing Contest?

Do you like it?
Vote for me:
- in the dadcando family fun contest! (click vote now on top of page; see also my other entry)
- and in the summer sewing contest!

Step 1: Needed Stuff

Picture of Needed Stuff
  • Moderate woodworking skills
  • Patience
  • A piece of soft wood (e.g. pine) of size suiting your design (see next step) plus much margin. Choose a wood grain that you like.
  • Nylon string, "quite robust" (0.5 mm)
  • Some pieces of flat scrap plastic (e.g. the cap of a PVC box) that is easy to cut and drill
  • Elastic string
  • Saw and miter box; a jigsaw is also helpful
  • Wood files
  • Sand paper (coarse to fine) and sand block
  • 1.5 mm drill bit; drill (at best, a drill press)
  • A sewing needle
  • Linseed oil
  • Wood stain

Step 2: Make Your Design

Picture of Make Your Design

Choose a (real) necktie that you like, and tie it to your liking. Loosen the loop, and take it off.

Use it to make a sketch. Divide into 4 to 5 cm long pieces.

Wear the sketch to check the length.

Step 3: Cut the Wood

Picture of Cut the Wood

Cut the wood.

Shape it for round side edges, using files and sand paper.

Depending on your liking and woodcarving skills, you can make a more or less realistic knot.

Keep an extra piece for drilling training and stain trials.

Step 4: Drill the Pieces

Picture of Drill the Pieces
Drill the pieces. This is the most tricky part. Use an extra piece for trial/training.

All pieces are drilled through, except:
  • the last one is drilled approx 3 cm deep
  • for the knot, see next step.
It must be drilled parallel to side edges, and parallel to the surface. Using a drill press is highly recommended.

Since it can be difficult to find drill bits of 1.5 mm diameter that are more than 5 cm long, I used a hard steel rod of 1.5 mm diameter and approx 8 cm length, that I sharpened and used as a drill bit to complete the drilling of the holes.

Start by drilling the narrowest piece (next one after the knot).

Now we're using the needle:
After piece number N has been drilled, we align it with the next piece (N+1), slide the needle through the holes of N, in order to precisely mark the position of the holes in N+1.

Step 5: Make the Knot

Picture of Make the Knot

The knot is drilled with an angle as shown.

The two small wooden bars are drilled and carved as shown, then loosely attached to the knot with small screws (pre-drill the bars!). Sand the screw, so that it won't damage your shirt.

Make two little plastic pieces with two holes, and one with three holes.

Step 6: Stain and Oil

Picture of Stain and Oil

Optionally: apply stain, let dry completely. Make a trial on the extra piece, to find out the wanted stain strength.

Apply linseed oil, remove the excess oil with a cloth, let dry completely.

Step 7: Assemble the Pieces

Picture of Assemble the Pieces

Glue the nylon strings into the end piece, with some epoxy.

"Sew" the pieces together: have the nylon strings cross them all. The wood pieces must move freely on the nylon strings (it is the elastic string that will keep them together).

Step 8: Assemble the Knot

Picture of Assemble the Knot
Bar #1:
  • Have the nylon string cross the end bar, then cross the plastic piece.
  • With matches or a lighter, melt the nylon to form a ball.
  • Have the elastic string cross the other hole, and block it with a knot.

Bar #2:
  • Do the same, and in addition, use the plastic piece with 3 holes, to allow length adjustment of the elastic string.

Optionally, make a sleeve.

Step 9: Wear It (And Shine!)

Picture of Wear It (And Shine!)

Step 10: Now, Make a Bowtie

Picture of Now, Make a Bowtie

It's much easier to make, and equally fun to wear!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words; here are 5 pictures of the making. Hint: I used a piece of fabric band and epoxy to bind the wood pieces together.


rgdesigners (author)2015-12-31

Nice liked it will try

petuljak (author)2010-08-09

And the point of the wooden necktie is?

nerdfighter73 (author)petuljak2011-08-29

What is the point of any necktie? Because it looks cool!

dawcee (author)petuljak2010-08-09

questioning the point of a wooden necktie is like questioning the point of Instructables itself. (btw the answer is: it's immensely satisfying to come up with and execute fun and unique projects)

michael lively (author)dawcee2010-12-16

and also it is a fashion statement, you don't know how many times I have gotten complements on my 8-bit tie.
it gets boring after a while, it is like spicing up a love life, but it is done with ties.

benthekahn (author)2011-08-14

This inspired me to make a perforated metal tie for my dad for fathers day. He loved it, thanks for the inspiration!

Wasagi (author)2011-03-16

Fantastic! I'm off to make one now.

laxap (author)2010-11-28

Necktie and bowtie: pine.

The bowtie has been stained, hence got darker.

mrbob1000 (author)2010-08-03

This would be the greatest thing to wear to prom.

falwyn (author)mrbob10002010-08-08

To match your date's wooden dress! Just kidding, I actually agree. This is an awesome project.

tealight (author)falwyn2010-09-02 wooden dress

your dog (author)2010-08-23

What responces have you got from this when you wore it? did they like it? (I did) :)

Chris Nelson (author)2010-08-20

Would you be willing to sell one of these ties good sir? I love to wear ties, and the double windsor knot style, but I most certainly do not have the time required to make one of these.

laxap (author)Chris Nelson2010-08-22

mmh you'd have to be very very very patient, and PM me sometimes... Anyway, you'll have to do step 2 (your design) yourself anyway, so why not start immediately ;-) ?

twighahn (author)2010-08-08

what hold the bowtie together?

laxap (author)twighahn2010-08-08

See 1st picture of step 4. I might additionally add a global schematic.

twighahn (author)laxap2010-08-10

what is that thing?

laxap (author)twighahn2010-08-10

the tie pieces holds together by means of a nylon thread (well, two threads) crossing the pieces. The pieces can slightly slide on the thread. Gravity and the elastic string give the tension to keep the wood pieces together. The said picture shows how the nylon threads cross and join the pieces.

twighahn (author)laxap2010-08-11

on the bow tie?

laxap (author)twighahn2010-08-11

Oh, you're talking about the bowtie.

Yes, fabric band glued.

twighahn (author)laxap2010-08-11

u called it a fabric band

karossii (author)2010-08-03

Very interesting, I may make one of these myself! I'd recommend to drill all the way through the bottom piece of the tie, but at a slight angle, so the holes are coming out of the middle of its back, instead of the bottom. Then you can use one long strand of nylon without glue, instead of two strands glued in place. Not sure how aptly I described that... hopefully you understand my meaning.

laxap (author)karossii2010-08-03

Yes I see. But I wanted to have a clean backside too, making in more difficult to guess how it works...

karossii (author)laxap2010-08-04

Another alternative then, to leave a clean backside, would be to drill straight down as you do, then drill a perpendicular hole about halfway down, at the base of the two vertical holes... making a 'U' - and then use wood filler to plug the two holes on the side. Once sanded and finished, you shouldn't be able to see any difference between the filler and the actual wood.

laxap (author)karossii2010-08-04

Might be difficult to align precisely, then to have the nylon follow the wanted path...

Is it the usage of glue that revolts you, if I may ask?

Another possibility is to do like in your first comment, then hide the holes+nylon, on the backside, by a custom-made fabric label (like real ties have). That would add a touch of distinction.

karossii (author)laxap2010-08-09

Glue doesn't revolt me, it just seems less sturdy/permanent to use glue like that...

Stealth007 (author)2010-08-09

I actually made one about 30 years ago. I stopped wearing it because it was so stiff and hard that people called it my woody. I also made a 'tie clip' out of a flat washer. I ground it out to appear like a saw blade. Overall, it looked pretty good, IMHO.

projectbronco (author)2010-08-08

Very awesome, I would love to make one someday!

Verga (author)2010-08-08

I teach High school shop, i can't believe tqhat i didn't think of this myself. adding this to the faves Thanks for a great project.

IBreakHeavyStuff (author)2010-08-08

Fantabulous. I want to wear ties so I can wear something like this. I don't do woodwork though but this would make a fantastic present for someone =).

patricklogsdon (author)2010-08-08

All these creative thinkers spurred me to an idea to also make a wooden tie a little woooden pinapple or something like, just thinking outloud! GREAT instructabler!!! I love this site.

tdeloge (author)2010-08-08

This is cool, but I don't get what you mean by "sewing" them together. The nylon strings don't just run striaght up through the holes in each piece?

canida (author)2010-08-04

This is brilliant!
You could run some flexible wire for the length instead, for the optional Dilbert look.

David Catriel (author)canida2010-08-08

Very nice twist (pun intended) !

laxap (author)canida2010-08-04

Dilbert look! never thought of it, great idea!

john henry (author)2010-08-08

i want one, no two i like shiny red wood finish ^_^

trueheart7a3 (author)2010-08-08

I think this would defeat the danger...if you work in an office...of getting too close to the paper shredder.

Faith Rhyne (author)2010-08-08

I just saw that you have an interest in sewing. This is a super easy project that teaches a lot of basic skills and doesn't require a machine. It basically just a bandanna with a bit of elastic and a fastening device. Super handy for families. I wanted to submit it as an instructable, but I have some issues with presenting my work in a clear way. It is something I am working on. Thanks. If you ever 'instructable-ify" this, let me know - I'd like to see it:)

Ward_Nox (author)Faith Rhyne2010-08-08

um how about you step my step take photos of you making one an go from there

laxap (author)Faith Rhyne2010-08-08

Thanks a lot.

You have very nice drawing skills! What about making an instructable in the form of a cartoon? (Do you know howtoons?)

Small piece of advice: You could add some shading for more volume effect, and a picture of the finished product.

If I make one (for my kids) I'll let you know.

David Catriel (author)2010-08-08

5 stars!

laxap (author)David Catriel2010-08-08


Faith Rhyne (author)2010-08-08

Really nice drape. How does it wear with movement? I would imagine it could be dangerous at a dinner party - wine glasses batted by wooden tie, resulting in much melee. Thanks for the image. Really lovely workmanship.

laxap (author)Faith Rhyne2010-08-08

In fact it's not an issue, because it is pretty flexible. Due to its weight, it does not swing a lot. Same cares as with a real tie, towards soup, sauce, etc...

Faith Rhyne (author)laxap2010-08-08

I don't usually wear ties - so, I guess they all just seem like accidents waiting to happen. No need to reply - but, yeah thanks for the hilarious little scenarios you inspired with the wooden tie.

JeanneFixer (author)2010-08-08

Hi Laxap! I liked your wooden necktie so much, I asked a question on Mahalo about it. I'm hoping to get some great creative answers in the next few days. Come check it out!

janettetsmith (author)2010-08-08

hee hee, that's sweet!

bertus52x11 (author)2010-08-05

Very nice!!! Ever considered making matching suspenders?

laxap (author)bertus52x112010-08-05

yes, and I made some! Will post a picture when I find them again...

CameronSS (author)2010-08-04

Brilliant! I've established a reputation for having weird ties--I have one made of a corrugated stainless steel plate, and one made of pop-tab chain maille. I've been trying to come up with other ideas, and this is perfect.

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